intervention for depression

How to Do an Intervention for Depression

Your loved one has been sad for a long time. You think it may be more than just a temporary sense of unhappiness. Knowing how to identify the signs of mental health issues and when and how to do an intervention for depression can be critical for your loved one’s health and well-being.

What is Depression?

Is your loved one having a difficult time with something that is going on in their life or are they experiencing a serious mental health issue? During Mental Health Awareness Month, it’s important to understand the difference.

Depressive disorder is more than just a feeling of sadness. It is a serious mental health condition that can severely affect your loved one without appropriate treatment. For most people, the depressive disorder will recur throughout their lives with episodes lasting a few months to several years at a time.

Depression can affect people of all ages and all backgrounds. In the US, over 19 million adults had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.

Symptoms of Depression

Depressive disorder can change the way a person functions on a daily basis. While symptoms differ somewhat in each individual, when any of these common symptoms persist for more than two weeks, it can be a sign of depression:

  • Changes in appetite, including eating less or more than usual
  • Changes in sleep patterns, including having difficulty sleeping
  • Significantly reduced energy level
  • Lack of ability to concentrate
  • Lack of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Thoughts of hopelessness or guilt
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Thoughts of suicide.

Is It Time for an Intervention?

When you notice these symptoms in your loved one, you may try to talk with them about what’s going on. Often, a person with depression will not be able to recognize that they are experiencing a mental health disorder. Or they may be embarrassed or stigmatized and not want to discuss it with you or anyone else. While you can try to encourage them to seek help, it might be time to gather your family members together to learn more about how to do an intervention for depression.

Organizing the Intervention

To truly help your loved one, an intervention involves a group of family members and friends who confront the individual who is experiencing depression, to convince them that they need professional help for their mental health. Organizing the intervention properly is critical to its success. An intervention that does not include the appropriate approach in confronting the individual can result in that person feeling as though they are simply being attacked. This can make the situation even worse, for all involved.

One of the best ways to ensure the success of an intervention for depression is to enlist the help of a mental health professional. Someone with experience in guiding the family through the necessary steps can also help ensure that the approach is done right to keep your loved one from feeling defensive or worsening their mental health condition.

Tips for a Successful Intervention

Knowing how to do an intervention for depression will mean the difference in its success. The key is to develop a plan well ahead of time, as to where the intervention will be, how it will be conducted, and what will be said. Some critical aspects of the intervention itself for you and your family members to keep in mind are:

  • Don’t become defensive, showing anger or negative reactions, if your loved one isn’t immediately and enthusiastically responsive to your concerns and suggestions. Remain calm and speak in a reassuring tone throughout the session.
  • Share your observations but don’t criticize your loved one for their behavior. Reassure them that you are coming together out of a concern for their mental and physical health.
  • Develop a consistent message among the members of the intervention team that is gentle but persistent in encouraging your loved one to seek help for their depression. Remind them that this mental health disorder is an illness that is treatable.
  • Take threats of suicide seriously. Remove any objects that could enable your loved one to harm themselves. If they are making threats and you are concerned that they may follow through, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.


When someone you love shows signs of depression, holding an intervention could be the only way to help them understand why and how to seek help. An early intervention can prevent many issues in their life, as they are encouraged to get treatment before it’s too late. If your loved one is struggling with mental illness or an addiction to drugs or alcohol, please contact Whitman Recovery Service. With more than 30 years of experience, our team can help you stage an intervention with a positive outcome; we have a 98 percent success rate. We are available at (210) 291-0278.